30 Aug 2021
Survey, Mapping & Spatial Planning
Project & Facility Management
Gender, Community & Inclusion
Posted30 Aug 2021
The poor quality and availability of spatial data has always been one of the biggest challenges in spatial planning in Indonesia, and most importantly in Papua. Further constraining spatial planning and sustainable development challenges, though, is the severely limited technical capacity of local government staff. Recognising this, Papua Spatial Planning – a bilateral programme between the Government of Indonesia and UK, implemented by LEI and Daemeter – has developed a structured and customised training known as On-the-Job Training (OTJT).
OTJT and technical capacity building more broadly would typically be delivered face-to-face. But due to COVID-19, an online method of training needed to be devised – recognising in particular, the unstable internet infrastructure in Papua. The team received strong support and commitment from the local government and were able to lead online trainings at provincial level in Papua, and at district-level in Jayapura and Boven Digoel. We explore here some of our results and learnings.
A Strong Potential GIS Trainer from The East, An Inspiring Woman from Papua
Ivy Verena Helena Sondakh, often called Ivy, is a one of the staff of Spatial Planning and Regional Development Division of Papua Planning and Development Agency (BAPPEDA). Known as a strong female leader in spatial data management, she has been working with BAPPEDA for 25 years, has participated in several GIS trainings and uses the ArcGIS mapping platform in her work. Prior to OTJT implementation, based on the results of the initial assessment of government technical capacity, Ivy was the strongest technical staff of Papua BAPPEDA; already possessing some knowledge on mapping and spatial data processing. However, she still faced some obstacles in performing her job. As she had only previously received minimal GIS training and was otherwise self-taught, her skills were still not sufficient to fully support BAPPEDA in performing the spatial plan revision process, as well as maintaining SIMTARU, the provincial GIS data portal.
Institutionally, Bappeda as the lead agency in spatial planning in Papua province—responsible to prepare the draft of spatial plan documents; routinely faces difficulties in completing the required maps. The maps obtained from the technical agencies (OPD) related to land use are often only available in jpeg/pdf or tabular format and require conversion to spatial vector data before they can be analysed and used to inform decision making. Working with large provincial spatial data; including basic maps and thematic data can be very challenging for Ivy and her team. Sharing the workload is quite difficult with such limited GIS capacity. OTJT is designed to enable participants undertake their own work as part of the training. This along with flexible scheduling, allows Ivy and her team to fully participate in the training, whilst attending the significant workload they have at BAPPEDA, and producing some of the most needed maps for the office.
Ivy is a proactive, dedicated and quick learner who is willing to go the extra mile to master the skills that she needs. There was a time when she was tasked to lay out the required maps for her division, and for that she didn’t hesitate to ask for additional sessions of OTJT, to improve her skills to meet the target. In a short conversation with the PSP team, Ivy expressed her appreciation of OTJT by saying that:
“Before having OTJT, preparing and working with spatial data used to be quite challenging due to the lack of technical capacity in my division. But through OTJT, more technical staff have managed to join the training and improve our capacity together. Now, we can work as a team to fulfil the given target to support the ongoing spatial plan revision. The materials, methodology and GIS tools provided through OTJT truly support us to meet the target of our agency.”
Participating in the OTJT since September 2020, Ivy and her colleagues note increased capabilities in data standardisation, that they are able to update data for the spatial plan revision (e.g. the base map for transportation) more quickly, and that they are making significant progress in preparing data for upload to the Province’s upgraded GIS portal (SIMTARU). Currently, Ivy and her OTJT team are in the process of updating the contour and slope maps. At the beginning of the training, Ivy needed close monitoring as new tools/Desktop Information Management System (DIMS) were introduced; but Ivy can now work independently and regularly coaches her peers in her OTJT group.
Good technical skills and a strong will and consistent drive to learn GIS and IMS, combined with good communication skills and ability to teach people; make Ivy a promising champion with strong potential to become a provincial GIS trainer and SIMTARU administrator. With the support from her supervisor, one of the OTJT plans is to bring her skill to the next level in order to prepare her for her potential new role as a trainer and SIMTARU Administrator.
Story of A Young GIS Enthusiast from Jayapura
Melky Parapa is a young GIS enthusiast from the Agriculture and Livestock Agency of Jayapura District. Having a background in IT led to his position in charge of applications and all IT-related matters since joining the agency in 2016. Recruited as a non-permanent staff member, and tasked to support the Secretariat, Melky has predominantly worked on non-technical matters. Due to his strong knowledge on IT, he was encouraged to support the spatial planning work, initially by participating in a face-to-face GIS training. Since then, he has supported the survey team to delineate the cacao distribution and produce the cacao distribution map.
When he was appointed to join the OTJT, Melky told PSP staff: ”I used to think that good maps can be produced only through field surveys which are usually time-consuming and require a quite large amount of funds. And though I supported the survey team, I don’t really have a good understanding and knowledge on how to transfer the survey data into map.”
This insight, along with the results of his technical capacity assessment, helps the PSP team to properly prepare the module and training method for Melky and his OTJT group. At the beginning of the training, Melky needed to be guided in the digitisation process. But after joining this OTJT for a year, Melky is capable of digitising maps independently. He is able to calculate areas and fill map attributes without close supervision. Melky is also proving to be a strong trainer, regularly assisting colleagues from his agency – and other agencies also – with map production tasks.
Through the OTJT modality, Melky has completed a number of essential spatial plan review tasks, including finalising data updates on oil palm plantation, and distribution of paddy fields and dry fields in the district. Melky is now eager to map all plantation commodities such as sago and vanillin; and has full support of his agency chief with this plan that will improve the agency’s data availability and quality. Eager to contribute more to spatial data management in the district, as well as to be able to train others; Melky is interested to build his spatial analytical skills, which is planned to be the next OTJT module, as well as strengthening his skills to become a district trainer. As Melky’s capacity increases, further career opportunities also become available, with the Chief of the agency appointing Melky to support the division to finalise essential commodity maps. The new skills developed by Melky help both him and the agency.
A Dedicated Forester from Boven Digoel, An Agent of Change for Spatial Data Utilisation
Nurhayati, Ibu Nur, is the Head of Planning and Forest Utilisation at the Production Forest Management (KPHP) Unit LIII of Boven Digoel. She finds that the main challenges of her work are dealing with spatial data availability as well as poor internal capacity. Ibu Nur is not familiar with map interpretation, let alone working with GIS. Hence she can find it difficult to adequately lead and support her team to prepare the workplan. One example she shared with the PSP team was when determining the location for establishing a nursery garden. Without understanding location and coordinate information, she and her team struggled to work out the location, made even more difficult by the large forest area they manage with its challenging topography.
The only survey equipment available in KPHP are handheld GPS and compasses. Ibu Nur has a little knowledge on how to use GPS but recognises that she and her team need to learn how to process the plotting and tracking data and interpret the resulting shapefile. Having joined OTJT in February 2021, Ibu Nur learnt about GIS from scratch and became familiar with GIS application such as DIMS—a modified QGIS application. Although the training has only been carried out for six months, Ibu Nur and her team have already learned some solutions to the various obstacles that she and her team face. She now has a greater understanding of surveying, exporting data from GPS to DIMS, map interpretation, delineation, and other general spatial data processing using DIMS. The data generated from field surveys have also been used for her OTJT session, closely link the learning and work environments. She has found this OTJT approach to be helpful, interesting and easy-to-follow and replicate, even as a beginner with many responsibilities.
To support the needs of the KPHP in the preparation of the Long-term Forest Management Plan (RPHJP), in particular the map activity locations in the plan; Ibu Nur requested the PSP team to help her to be able to conduct a basic survey using GPS and Avenza Map—an open-source and mobile-based survey application. Ibu Nur wanted to use this data to help measure the nursery garden area of the Forest Farmer Group (KTH). In addition to building mapping and surveying expertise, Ibu Nur is keen to build the skills of her colleagues, and capacity of KPHP and related agencies.
Ibu Nur found that the OTJT model enabled her consistent participation, and timely completion of assignments. At a short interview with Ibu Nur, she clearly said, “I hope that PSP can continue OTJT activities. And I would like reach out to other agencies in Boven Digoel, to share with them about OTJT and its benefits for the planning and program implementation, so that other agencies could learn GIS and possess the knowledge and skills as I now have.” From Ibu Nur’s experiences, it’s proven that OTJT is also beneficial for a local leader, to help formulate workplans and share workload evenly within her team, for sustainable forest management.